After their last game, GW women’s soccer coach Tanya Vogel told her team she wished they could play their next match right then. They had just lost their second straight match, but Vogel thought they had played well and were ready to win their next game. She was right.
After a 0-2 start in Atlantic 10 play, the Colonials (6-6-0, 2-2 A-10) shut out their opponents twice this weekend. The Colonials beat UMass 2-0 Friday, following it up with a 1-0 win against Rhode Island Sunday.
“We battled today,” senior midfielder Keara Mehlert said. “We had a couple of breakaways that didn’t work out, but we kept it tight and were able to win it.”
Senior midfielder Erica Wright scored the only goal against Rhode Island off a corner kick two minutes into the match. Wright, who also scored the first goal in Friday’s game, had been playing left midfield, but she switched to center against UMass.
“I’m more comfortable in the center,” Wright said. “It’s what I’ve played in the past, so the girl who had been playing center and I kept talking to Coach about switching, and she finally listened.”
Rhode Island, which had no conference wins going into Sunday, came out strong and challenged the Colonials, putting pressure on both sides of the field and playing hard in the middle. The Rams are a relatively young team, but hungry for a win. Vogel warned her team to expect a tough fight.
“Zero-four is not indicative of what a strong team they are,” Vogel said.
The Colonials had some trouble converting on goal opportunities late in the second half, sometimes not setting up to take shots and other times shooting too quickly and inaccurately.
In practice last week, the team worked on keeping the ball moving.
“We practiced pattern plays and ball movement, and that worked out really well in the game,” senior forward Meg Pyle said after Friday’s game.
Defensively, the team worked on clearances and getting the ball down the field, a focus senior defender Lauren Kelly said paid dividends during the wins. Vogel also said she wants to work on keeping the ball wide when it is on GW’s side of the field to prevent crosses.
“We always need work on crossings and making sure we can get the ball up to our (front) six,” Vogel said. “But we wanted to work on clearances so the defensive backs were more confident and to re-remind them that this was something that we’re good at.”
Up next for the team is a two-game road trip, first to St. Bonaventure Friday – who beat La Salle on Saturday – and then to Duquesne Sunday. Vogel said she wants her team to come out strong and with a “ton of energy.”
St. Bonaventure plays on a grass field – GW’s is turf – so Vogel plans to work with her team to prepare for the difference in play.
“The girls know what’s at stake here,” Vogel said. “We’re just getting started, but we know that we’ve got to keep winning games now to put ourselves in a good position for A-10 championships.”